State of the Offspring Address – October 2015

October 31, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Halloween 2015The Raslets made some good progress in October. The biggest event was Nora starting French lessons. We had been searching around for a potential French teacher for some time. Pretty much the only language that anyone is interested in teaching children in Spain is English; all the French classes are for older people. Someone directed us to a woman who lives in the building adjacent to us who was going to give French classes to students at a local school, but, as is often the case in public education, the funding dried up at the last minute and she ended up not doing it. I spoke to her, and she said, “Hmm, well, I’d need to brush up on my textbooks from school, but I could probably teach some basics to a six-year-old.” Not quite what I wanted to hear.

State of the Offspring Address – September 2015

September 30, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Carlos V in LaredoSeptember was a good month, but not nearly as milestone-laden as August. The highlight of the month was the visit from my parents, which greatly boosted Ian’s English. The biggest steady improvement over the month was Ian’s language and potty skills. The other major event was Nora starting her scholastic career in first grade.

State of the Offspring Address – August 2015

August 31, 2015 By: erik Category: Extremadura, Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Summer SonTo say that August was a month of milestones would be an understatement. The kids spent almost all of August in the little town of Higuera de la Serena, in Extremadura, in southern Spain, where their maternal grandmother is from. They had a blast, with the lack of schedule and structure that accompanies many memories of summer vacations. The milestone that most excites me is that Nora finally learned how to ride her bicycle.

State of the Offspring Address – July 2015

July 30, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Golf, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Cereal for BreakfastJuly has been a pretty full month. The biggest event in the children’s lives was that Nora started her two week summer courses: skating and crafts. Every weekday we go to Nora’s school at 10:15 to begin getting her suited up for skating. She has knee, elbow and wrist pads. Her skating class is from 10:30 to noon. At noon, she takes off all her gear, stows it in the school lobby, and goes up to what will be her English classroom for the next six years to do manualidades, which translates to handicrafts, until 1:30pm. She made some bracelets, a coaster, and some wall art made of little pieces of foam. From what I can tell, she likes the class a lot. There was one day, however, in which she said that two of the older girls had been singing songs about her, not nice songs. Ugh? This already? I told her that anyone who insults her is being silly, and that if they do it again, that she should tell the teacher. We haven’t heard of any incidents since.

State of the Offspring Address – June 2015

June 30, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Sharing a mostoPlenty of milestones this month. Nora finished her third year of preschool and is now officially a First Grader. It was pretty emotional, since she’s had the same amazing teacher, Viky, for all three years. I’ve been a fan of hers since the beginning. All the parents got together and organized a book of photos and had each kid do a drawing, and then one father spent probably a dozen hours building it into a book of which copies could be ordered.

State of the Offspring Address – May 2015

May 31, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Saturday morning with DaddyThe highlight of this month was an eleven day visit from my parents. As always, they got along splendidly with their two grandchildren. Just as expected, Ian’s English improved considerably. A skeptic would still consider a lot of what he says to be little more than parroting back the last few syllables he’s heard, but he does an increasingly better job of pronouncing those syllables. At dinner with my parents, he concocted sentence constructions as long as “More tomato please, Grandpa!” The boy can’t get enough tomatoes.

State of the Offspring Address – April 2015

April 30, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Ian in SusinosWith her sixth year firmly under her belt, Nora has had a good start to her seventh. Meanwhile, her adoring and adorable little brother finished his second solar lap in style. Ian continues to babble in increasingly coherent ways. Sometimes when he’s bored, he’ll test out different sounds, like a child learning to speak. He’s already got some good solid English phonemes, like when I say “bridge”, he repeats “-idge”, which is a sound that’s tough for native Spanish speakers learning English.

State of the Offspring Address – March 2015

March 31, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Ian WritesMarch has seen several major milestones hit by the offspring, pretty much all by Nora, and I’m not even counting her sixth birthday or losing her first tooth, both of which were amazing sources of pride for her. Ian is still plodding along being adorable, friendly and so curious that he gets into trouble. He’s just finally started getting out a third or fourth syllable to his thoughts, like “Let’s go, Nora”, or “Daddy, jacket!”

State of the Offspring Address – February 2015

February 27, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Ian BarflyThe shortest month of the year has come to a close. I spent the first dozen days of it the the States playing golf, and then we had the biggest event in February for the kids, Carnaval. The weather has been particularly terrible this month, so we’ve done almost no outdoor activities. The other day I noticed it was starting to rain, and pointed this out to Nora, and she said, “Ugh! It’s ALWAYS raining!” That’s how we all feel.

State of the Offspring Address – January 2015

January 30, 2015 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Kitty NoraEarly January saw the passing of “Second Christmas”, Kings Day, in which Nora wrote a letter to the three wisemen welcoming them into our home and offering some snacks that were laid out for them. Nora got a toy microphone, some clothes, some other toys, and several pairs of earmuffs, which no one wears (and therefore are nearly impossible to buy), but apparently they were talking about them in school. Ian got the big present: a pedal-less bicycle. Unfortunately he’s not quite big enough to use it even at the lowest setting, and Nora is just too big to use it at the highest setting (more on that below). Nora got up first, of course, and then she got so frustrated that she couldn’t “help” Ian open his presents that she actually started crying at the injustice of it all. When we got Ian up, he really didn’t seem to have any understanding of what was going on, barely paying attention to Nora ripping open his presents.